Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Stretch of Road and A Limitless God

I always find driving to be one of my best times to connect with God. A long stretch of road under a dark night sky, driving barefoot (love the feeling of freedom in being barefoot), the radio playing (loudly, if I have it my way!), and every thought, feeling, despair, and hope coming out to my Father who carries them all when I let them slide off my shoulders to His.

I've been carrying far too much for me lately-- far more than He intends me to carry myself. I wonder when I'll ever learn to live in His power and stop trying it on my own? The weeks at home have gone by so very quickly and as my return to Sweden date looms near-- this time with a residency permit and only a one-way ticket-- I find myself so often overwhelmed with too many emotions to calculate. Of course there's excitement and enthusiasm and anticipation. I miss my friends who are like family there, I miss my lovely city of Gothenburg, I miss the connection I feel with Europe, and the passion He infuses my heart with there which I haven't felt anywhere else in all the world...

But I dread leaving my family again-- my little brother who resents the time I spend with anyone else but him during my stays at home since moving to Europe in 2005; my precious nieces who dote on me as much as I dote on them and grow and change with every blink of my eyes; and now my new baby nephew who has stolen my heart and become another treasure to miss whenever I go... I dread leaving the familiarity of home. The beauty of my family ranch wraps me up like the sweetest of embraces. I dread missing out on the important moments-- my sister is due to have her baby boy in January, my youngest brother is graduating from High School this May, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and all the get-togethers in between. But mostly just the ordinary everyday moments. The freedom to call my sister any time of the day and just hang-out over the phone. The freedom to just hop on my bike and take the 5 mile route through the countryside to enjoy the evening light, or pop over to my big brother's house and chat with my sister-in-law and love on my Tucker. Sitting on the patio talking with my Mom, or laughing over one antic or another of Jonah. Staying over with my Grandparents like a kid again. Any time stolen with cousins and Aunts and Uncles. All the little pleasures of home.

Leaving never gets easier.

But particularly this time. I always expect ministry to be a challenge-- my education at Redcliffe didn't allow for rose-coloured glasses about the world of Missions & Ministry. I heard too many firsthand experiences to expect nothing but rainbows and roses-- but the situation our loving King has led me into at Rescue Mission this time sometimes feels bigger than I can handle these days. First it was just working out my own theology on all the situations which somehow swirl together in a small community like ours, now it's the communication of it that I'm struggling with because who am I to speak into ANYTHING, and especially if the parties involved don't want to hear it? Coming home just now was such a reprieve. A reprieve which is nearly over now...

I cried out to God about it all as I drove under the starlit sky. Lord, what is my place in it? What would You have me do to help? How would You have me go about it? And then just alot of tears from a heart heavy for this little church I so love and the mess satan does his best to work into all of our lives. It's no surprise that we've come under such fire and lost such unity as a church. we are sinners and all at different points in our walks with God and different understandings of His Word-- not to mention in Rescue Mission's situation, we're all from different cultural perspectives!-- but what's difficult for me is how things are or are not handled. Is there a right way and a wrong way to go about it, God? And am I now included in the ones who are meant to handle things? Am I worked up over nothing? Or have you given me this heart, this education, and this passion for this particular ministry and then made me a part of it all for just such a time as this?

My heart's just been so burdened.
And again and again He inspires me just to desire Him above all else, and let Him use that to inspire the ones I'm ministering to in Sweden right now. It's all on Him, not on me.

And as I cried and talked to Him and went over everything in my mind for the billionth time, two songs played on the radio which spoke to me straight from His heart to mine and refreshed me on this journey...

If You Want Me To
(Check it out on youtube:
Stunning lyrics:
The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials
Bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way
I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering
Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to

And with my heart absolutely in the right place after that, He reminded me of Who He is. In this difficult ministry situation on my first assignment as a missionary and beyond, He is mighty to save. Whatever grieves my heart for His kingdom, grieves His all the more. Whatever concerns I have, He has had all along, and He has His plans. He started fixing this thousands of years ago when He sent His Son to abolish the power of sin, and His redemption is at work even today. His final victory is near. He IS mighty to save. This is His situation, not mine. This life of ministry, wherever it takes me, is His, not mine. And I will watch Him work in His might and His love now and always...

Mighty To Save
(Check it out on YouTube:

Everyone needs compassion
Love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The Hope of nations

He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

My Saviour
You can move the mountains
You are mighty to save
You are mighty to save
Author of Salvation
You rose and conquered the grave
Yes, You conquered the grave

Thank you for long night drives, good good mighty God.

(p.s. Can anyone tell me how to embed YouTube videos right into the post?)


Hephzibahbeulah said...

Wonderful post. Lots of reminders of things I had forgotten :) Thank you!!

The thing about you having been carrying round too much of a burden on yourself, this is the lesson God is constantly teaching me since Redcliffe, for some reason it doesn't come easy to learn it. The way He puts it for me is that I need to stop striving and just 'be'. All he requires of us is that we be.

The famous 'my yolk is easy and my burden is light' verses in the Message say it all really:

Matthew 11:29-30 (The Message)

28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

That's the kind of life I want!! And how do we get it? Resting and just being with Him. That's all Grace requires of us. Isn't it amazing how so often we miss the point, and also just how in contrast to the world God's logic is?!

We must catch up soon, I long to talk with you xxx

Emily Gotta said...

Leah! What a beautiful post. I love the display of your blog. SO you!

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